In what district administrators are describing as an extremely good start, Sedalia School District 200 students returned to their classes and daily routines Thursday morning with the beginning of school.
“Everything went very well,” Superintendent Brad Pollitt said. “I’ve been very pleased with the work that all of the administrators and staff have put in to make this happen.”
Pollitt made visits to several of the schools Thursday to see how the realignment in students throughout the district was working.
Students in the sixth grade will now attend Smith-Cotton Junior High with the seventh and eighth grade classes. Sedalia Middle School will be the home of the fifth grade students and will be the center for the English Language Learners Program.
The Board of Education voted at its August meeting to send students to the middle school four days a week for expanded individual services in their English curriculum.
“The middle school will also see a natural expansion of the Pettis County Early Childhood Co-op,” Pollitt said. “This is occurring through increased enrollment in the program.”
The district’s five elementary buildings will continue to serve students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade.
One major student realignment in the District is at Smith-Cotton High School.
This is the first year since the new high school was built in 2009 that freshmen through seniors will be at one facility.
“It was a smooth start for us,” Smith-Cotton Principal Wade Norton said. “When you consider that we are transitioning half our student body to the high school, things went remarkably well.”
Enrollment at Smith-Cotton on the first day of classes is close to 1,500 students, Norton said.
“We know that number will change,” Norton said “We tend to get as students who transfer in as we do who transfer out.
“All of the students were in class by 8:30,” Norton added. “No one was lost and there weren’t any tears so it was a good morning.”
Norton said the district purposely made as few changes as possible to the schedule this year or to the daily procedures and routine at the high school. This was done to allow for a smoother transition for the freshmen, sophomores and new students.
“We really want the upperclassmen to take the lead and set the stage,” Norton added. “It’s been a weird school year as we have already played our first football game in the new stadium, and have had two swim meets and a tennis match.
“We’ve had a lot of students in the building already with camps and practices,” he said. “We’re looking forward to building more traditions as the year progresses.”
The only concern that district administrators have seen is one they encounter each year.
“Our traffic has been heavy at all the buildings,” Pollitt said. “During the first few weeks we tend to see (extra traffic) as parents figure out when their students need to leave their houses, to get them where they need to be and on time.”
Administrators urged parents to be patient with the traffic during morning drop offs and pick up times in the afternoon.
“We are having some issues with the lights on (South Limit Avenue) and Tiger Pride Boulevard,” Norton said. “MoDOT is making adjustments to the lights to adjust for the timing and traffic flow.
“Until they get that established, we just hope everyone will be patient,” Norton added. “We are all looking forward to this being an outstanding year throughout the District.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484